Form 886-H-EIC Toolkit - Review Phase

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What happens after you send us copies of your documents?

We review the documents. Please be patient. If it takes us longer to review the documents than the 30 days, we send you a letter saying we got your information and we are reviewing it.


After our Review

If the documents you sent support all the audit items on your return, we close the audit. We send you a letter saying the audit is closed and then refund the amount due to you within eight weeks.

If the documents don’t support all the audit items, we send a Form 4549, Income Tax Examination Changes, or an audit letter.


What happens when I get the Form 4549 or audit letter?

Review it. Look at the Form 886-A, Explanation of Items, for information on what documents we accepted to prove your claim, what we couldn’t accept and why, and what you still need to send to us to prove your claim.

If you agree with us, sign and return the agreement part of the audit letter. If you are due a refund, you should receive it within eight weeks.

If you owe additional taxes, pay the whole amount or as much as you can with a check or money order payable to the United States Treasury to avoid owing extra penalties or interest. If you can’t pay it all, see the Publication 3498-A, The Examination Process (Audits by Mail), for other payment options or visit and search for "tax payment options."


If you don’t agree, don’t sign the agreement page of the audit letter.

Do send us copies of the additional documents we need. We list what we need from you on Form 4549, Explanation of Items, and explain why the information is needed. Send the listed documents and write down why you disagree with us and how the documents you sent prove your claim.

Time is very important. You need to reply to us within 30 days of the date on the notice. If you can’t respond within the 30 days, call the number on the notice.


You may qualify for low cost or free help from a Low-Income Tax Clinic and you have rights during an audit, see, Your Rights During an Audit and More Resources.

What should I do if I still don’t agree after the examiner reviews all my documents?

If you still disagree with the examiner’s decision after you’ve sent in all requested documents to support your position, you have several options to resolve the disagreement. Remember there are time limits for each action, so pay close attention to the date on your letter and the time frames. You can:

  • Schedule a time to talk to your tax examiner before the date given in the letter which is 30 days from the letter date, or
  • Request an informal conference with the examiner's manager before the date given in the letter which is 30 days from the date of the letter, or
  • Request an Appeals conference before the date given in the letter, or
  • You can wait until you get the Statutory Notice of Deficiency letter and then petition the Tax Court. This can be complicated, so read Publication 3498-A on how this is done. Most important, remember you must take action within 90 days from the date on your notice.


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